YOLO: You Oughtta Look Out.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of falling. As the human equivalent of a giraffe, I have always been pretty clumsy. Ironically, I’ve also always loved physical activity. Growing up, I stuck to sports that kept my feet solidly on the ground (basketball, softball, track). My childhood gymnastics career was short lived because I hated the uneven bars so much. As an adult, I got into yoga and fitness classes like boot camp and spinning. I also got married to an obsessive cyclist, which led to me getting into road cycling. My first few road rides were fairly panic inducing, as the idea of having my feet locked into my pedals was scary. Definitely fell over at stop signs a couple of times because I couldn’t unclip. But, as time wore on, my fear subsided and I’m at ease on my road bike now. Success!
Over the years, I’ve watched my husband race countless cyclocross races. Spectating was fun, but I never ever thought “ooh, I’d like to do that”. Then, last year he got a new cross bike, so we set up his old one for me and we went out to Golden to just mess around on the Back to Basics course. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN (and not quite as scary as I thought it would be)!
I had been doing the women’s road rides with Melissa for a few months and when she mentioned SQUARE1 and asked if I’d like to join the team for cross season, I surprised myself by saying yes.
My first season as a Cat 5 beginner woman is over and as I look back, here are my takeaways:
• Confidence is key! I always joke that I’m in a perpetual state of fear during a race (see note about fear above). My biggest weakness during a race is my mental hesitation-on lap 1 I’ll hit a technical section and my fear prevents me from even trying to ride it. In subsequent laps, once my confidence is up, I’ll ride the section with no problem. While that is great, I’ve already lost so much time bc of lap 1 hesitation that it’s hard to bridge the gap back to the front of the race. Next year my number one goal is: ride without fear!
• Friends are the ultimate motivator! Having a team of women to practice with and hang with at races was so inspiring for me. Melissa with her experience helped me ride through my fear and seeing other beginner women riding technical stuff really helped me see that I could do it too.
• Even if you aren’t winning races, it’s worth showing up because cross is the best work out! For me, racing is the best practice-I can never push myself to go as hard if I am just riding alone.
Looking forward to next season!